We attend around 25,000 incidents a year including fires, road traffic collisions, chemical spills, floods, animal rescues and other emergencies. To deal with this demand our highly skilled operational firefighters provide round the clock emergency cover, responding to incidents in one or more of our 60 front-line fire engines, equipped with the latest equipment and supported by a number of specialist vehicles.
These staff are complemented by a team of experienced Control operators who handle all our 999 calls and make sure we send the right staff and equipment to the right incidents.
How Does Control Know What to Send? Our Response Standards
To make sure we send the most appropriate response to an emergency we classify incidents as ‘critical’ or ‘secondary’ which require a different level of response. Both types of incident may involve a fire or a ‘special service’ a non-fire emergency such as a road traffic collision.
- Critical incidents are those that are likely to involve a significant threat to life, structures or the environment.
- Secondary incidents are those that are unlikely to involve a significant threat to life, structures or the environment.
Critical Fire Incidents
For critical fires, our response standards are based on a fire risk map that gives each super output area (a system used by all public agencies to identify small parts of the county – usually with about 1500 homes) a risk rating of very high, high, medium or low. See ‘How we work out risk’ for more information. (need to link to About us/how we plan/
For critical fires, we always send a minimum of two fire engines as the second may be needed before we can operate safely. We measure the response time for each fire engine based on the table below and each year the Fire Authority agrees targets for meeting these standards.
(insert the table from page 27 on the community safety strategy document attached in Jpeg)
Critical Special Service Incidents
This type of incident typically involves road traffic collisions, people trapped in machinery, chemical spills etc. We set a single county-wide response standard of thirteen minutes (including 1 minute for the 999 call) for this type of incident as they can happen anywhere across the county. We send a minimum of two fire engines but only measure the response time for the first fire engine since we believe the first crew to arrive can operate safely before the second crew gets there.
We don’t set specific response standards for both fire and special service secondary incidents as to do so would mean we would need to put our fire engines in different places which would mean we would not be able to get to critical incidents as quickly. However, to make sure we give the best possible response to a secondary incident we ensure that:
- The nearest available fire appliance is mobilised immediately;
- If a critical incident occurs in the same station area while the fire engine is on its way to the secondary incident, it will immediately be re-directed to the life-threatening incident;
- If a life-threatening incident happens in the same station area while a fire engine is dealing with a secondary incident, if safe to do so, it will leave the secondary incident to attend the critical incident.
- If fire engines need to be diverted from a secondary incident another nearest next available appliance will be sent.
Working with Others in Emergencies
Under the Civil Contingencies act are classified as a category 1 responder. This means that through the local resilience forum we work closely with other emergency services and organisations across Lancashire to plan, prepare and respond to emergencies to ensure a return to normality as quickly as possible. We participate in many planning exercises and work within the frameworks determined by the Lancashire Resilience Forum to help ‘warn and inform’ members of the public about what they can do in the event of an emergency. For more information see the Lancashire Resilience Forum website.